Braves name David Hale their fourth starter

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The Braves have finalized their injury-depleted starting rotation and have named David Hale their fourth starter, Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. One through five, their rotation will be:

  • Julio Teheran
  • Ervin Santana
  • Alex Wood
  • David Hale
  • Aaron Harang

Teheran will start on Opening Day, March 31, in Milwaukee against Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo. Newcomer Ervin Santana is expected to make his Braves debut in the second week of the season.

The Braves currently have three starting pitchers on the disabled list. Mike Minor went on the disabled list retroactive to March 21 with a shoulder injury and is expected to return towards the end of April. Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy will both miss the entire 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Despite the injuries, the Braves are still expected to give the Nationals a run for their money in the NL East.

Braves sign Marcell Ozuna to one-year, $18 million deal

Marcell Ozuna
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The Braves have announced on Tuesday evening the signing of free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that it’s a one-year contract for $18 million.

Ozuna, 29, hit .241/.328/.472 with 29 home runs, 89 RBI, 80 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 549 plate appearances for the Cardinals last season. He’s been consistently above-average in each of the past four seasons, which also included a career year in 2017 in which he was worth 6.1 WAR, per Baseball Reference.

It is surprising that Ozuna, a two-time All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner, had to settle for a one-year deal. The Braves are happy he did as he will help make up for some of the offense lost when third baseman Josh Donaldson became a free agent and ultimately signed with the Twins. Ozuna can become a free agent again after the 2020 season but won’t have qualifying offer compensation attached to him, part of the reason why his market may have been slow to develop.

Along with Ozuna, the Braves have signed in free agency this offseason reliever Will Smith, starter Cole Hamels, and catcher Travis d'Arnaud. They re-signed relievers Chris Martin and Darren O'Day, catcher Tyler Flowers, infielder Adeiny Hechavarría, and outfielder Nick Markakis.